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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Singer Bobby Vee’s son met all the big stars growing up in 1960s

Robby Vee will be performing Monday at Savannah Center.
Robby Vee will be performing Monday at Savannah Center.

His father was rock star Bobby Vee.

He grew up on tour buses with his dad, travelling with the likes of Bo Diddley, Gary “U.S.” Bonds and the Shirelles.
Later, he met Bob Dylan who told him the story of how he played in Bobby Vee’s band.
Robby Vee couldn’t help but follow in his famous father’s footsteps and performs at 7 p.m. Monday July 21 at  Savannah Center.
“Like a lot of people who grew up in a musical family, I didn’t choose this business, it chose me,” Vee said in a telephone interview.  “I can’t really remember wanting to be anything other than a musician. That was my dream. Next thing I knew, I had been on the road for five years and woke up in hotel on tour. That’s when I knew my dream came true.”
When Robby was growing up, he was surrounded by music. “I always loved the oldies,” he said. “My dad turned me on to Chuck Berry. After that, I was hooked on rock’n’roll.”
Bobby Vee got his start the night Buddy Holly died in a 1959 plane crash in Iowa. Vee and his band, the Shadows, were called to fill in for Holly at the next gig in Moorhead, Minn.
Like his dad, Robby Vee loves to rock. His stage show pays tribute to his father but Vee also plays his own music and delves deep into the era of  rockabilly along  with ‘60s’ pop and rock.
“I don’t impersonate my father,” Vee said. “What I want to do is capture the spirit of rock’n’roll and make sure everybody who comes has a good time.”

This is a difficult time for Vee’s family.  His father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and stopped  performing in 2011.
“He takes it day by day, some better then others. He paints a lot for enjoyment and therapy.
Him and my mom just celebrated their 50th of marriage.”
Robby’s mother, Karen,  “is recovering from a lung transplant. The two seem to help each other in different ways. They spend winters at their horse ranch in Tucson and summers at their lake home here in Minnesota. He’s loves talking about rock n roll and still has a great spirit to him.”
Bobby Vee scored 38 chart hits during his career. The list includes “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Devil or Angel” and “Rubber Ball.” The famed song writing team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote two hits for Vee: “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “Run to Him,” a personal favorite of Robby’s.
Another of Robby’s favorites is “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara,” from 1962.
“I really like it, the song has a great sound,” Vee said. But it was tough for his dad to promote it on “American Bandstand.” It seems at the time Dick Clark, the famed Bandstand host, was in the middle of a divorce from his wife, Barbara. “There was no way Dick was going to play that song,” Vee said.

Bobby Vee was a regular on the Dick Clark Bandstand bus tours. Young Robby would travel on the bus and met the famed artists. “It’s an experience you never forget,” he said.
Bob Dylan was just starting out when he landed a job in Bobby Vee’s backup band, The Shadows. Back then, Dylan used the name Elston Gunn, and played piano. Dylan was born in Duluth Minn and last year, during a show in St. Paul, he talked about his time with Vee, who came from nearby Fargo, ND.
“I’ve played with everybody from Mick Jagger to Madonna, but the most beautiful person I’ve ever been on stage with is Bobby Vee,” Dylan said from the stage. He then played “Suzie Baby,” one of Vee’s early hits, as a tribute, according to The Current web site.

“My dad was a pop music artist,” Robby Vee said. “He was the people’s artist. It’s the people who own his songs. I want to entertain those people.”

Still, it’s tough being on the road for Robby.  He and his wife, Mary, live near Minneapolis and have two young daughters: Alison, 7 and Calianna, 4.
“This business can be a lot of fun but it’s tough being away from your family,” Vee said. “As a parent I think about all the little things you miss not being at home. I spend a lot of time with my kids and they like it when I read to them. I do a lot of reading.”
Vee is also paying tribute to his father with his show.
“I want to keep his legacy alive,” Vee said. “It’s part of my musical heritage.”

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